Vera Călin, née Clejan, was born to a Jewish family in Bucharest. Her father Herman Clejan was a well-known architect. After World War II, she graduated from the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy at Bucharest University and earned a Ph.D. She became a professor of comparative literature at Bucharest University in 1970. She was considered one of the most original essayists of her generation, and published various literary studies, including Pornind dela clasici (Starting from the Classics, 1957); a biography of Lord Byron (1964); Alegoria si esentele (Allegory and Essence, 1969); and Metamorfozele mastilor comice (The Metamorphosis of Comic Masques, 1966). She also translated works by Hemingway, Swift, and Hardy into Romanian. Following the death of her husband, a physician, she emigrated to the USA to be closer to her son, and settled in Los Angeles. She was a visiting professor at American and Canadian universities as well as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. One of her final books, Tarziu: insemnari californiene 1986–1996 (Too Late: California Notes, 1986-1996), published in 1997, was a memoir of the immigrant experience.